Best of 2018 #2: Walking Distance – “Freebird”


It’s not unlike experiencing Charlie Parker again for the first time.  Not necessarily the sound per se, but that highly charged reaction to high voltage music.  As I wrote for The Bandcamp Daily about Freebird, “There’s a giddy euphoria that comes with the discovery of the music of Charlie Parker- the thrilling experience of hearing crisp melodies formed under the pressure of high speeds of swing.  That same response is the best proof of Freebird’s success.”  As if taking a clipping and planting it into new soil, the Walking Distance quartet (along with a superb guest spot from Jason Moran) embrace passages from Parker’s tunes and then release them as something quite new.  But the newness isn’t a measure of the jazz age the music most sounds like.  It’s about capturing that joyful spirit of Parker’s music, and the power and grace it possesses to launch a person’s heart and soul into space.  It’s also about music’s ability to inspire, a timelessness that continues to affect minds and hearts long after the creator has passed, and to ignite in future generations a desire of their own to take that spark and create fires of their own, burning bright.  Everything about this album is representative of everything that is great about jazz.

Released on Sunnyside Records.

Music from New York City.

I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.

Available at:  Amazon | Bandcamp